Educator Spotlight: Benjamin Kelly
STEM teacher in Canada embraces experiential learning, empathy and honesty with students
This story is part of a weekly series that celebrates outstanding teachers in our Flipgrid community. Stories by Angela Tewalt.
Years ago when he was first studying to be in medicine, STEM teacher Benjamin Kelly would spend his summers off in the mountains to work as a camp counselor at the Catskills in New York.
The escape was a calling in disguise. With physics on the brain, he had nothing but a wildness in his heart – the bubbly grownup who was sure to run alongside the children, complete all the activities and projects, too, and sing along with them each night.
He was playful, committed, and engaged and, in the end, a few months out of the year weren’t enough to be with the kids, so he became a teacher instead.
Today, his students get to reap that same camp counselor energy. At a small country school in New Brunswick, snuggled up among the Atlantic provinces in the far east of Canada, Benjamin is outside with his students. They’re hunting or fishing, building drones underneath the trees and having meaningful, intimate conversations as if he’s still around the campfire in New York.
Benjamin is devoted to both his school and his students. He uses his big energy and love for tech to spark imagination in the children, and he gives them permission to run free with their ideas.
“These kids are so inspirational,” says Benjamin, who’s been teaching STEM to grades K-12 for over 15 years. “I never want to just stand in the classroom and not be a part of the learning. I want to get in there with them as much as I can and offer them some sort of authentic purpose!
“When I was a camp counselor, I was just enjoying everything they were enjoying, and I really do feel that is still in my teaching practice today.”